NRL MATCH REPORT | Sharks v Sea Eagles
The Brookvale Oval hoodoo struck again with the Sharks producing a less-than-stellar performance in going down by 28-16 to the Manly Sea Eagles.
In what was the 32nd loss to Manly in 38 visits to the northern beaches the Sharks made too many errors in allowing the home team to dictate terms, with the loss leaving the Cronulla side on the outside of the top eight looking in and facing a couple of important weeks in relation to their finals aspirations.
Jorge Taufua crossed early to give Manly a 4-0 lead and it would be that same man, this time collecting a Daly Cherry-Evans cross field kick who would double their advantage some 15 minutes later.
Jamie Lyon was on target with his second conversion attempt and Manly were up 10-0 at the 20-minute mark of the match.
From there however the Sharks dug in and matched sets with the Sea Eagles as they worked their way back into the contest and just when it appeared the teams would go to the break with the score-line unchanged, the Cronulla side had other ideas.
With just two minutes left on the clock a well-worked back-line move, instigated by Ben Barba, finished off by Sosaia Feki, saw the visitors bridge the gap when the Sharks winger dived over in the south-eastern corner.
Michael Gordon wasn’t able to add the extra two but at only 10-4 down the Sharks would have gone into half time in a positive frame of mind.
The start of the second half didn’t go according to plan when Steve Matai collected a clever Brett Stewart kick to score and with the Lyon conversion at 16-4 down the Sharks faced an uphill battle.
The situation got worse when Cherry-Evans sliced through to extend their lead and when Lyon goaled the two competition points were as good as gone.
The Sharks kept trying and were rewarded for their efforts when Jeff Robson put Andrew Fifita through with a perfectly timed pass with 10 minutes to go but the Sea Eagles would answer shortly after when Jorge Taufua went over the his third to wrap up the result.
Fifita would add a second try after a Sam Tagataese break but it was a disappointing result for the Sharks and one which sees them remain on 18 competition points and back in the bunch of teams battling for a place in the final eight.
The Sharks had some wholehearted performers on the day, with skipper Wade Graham trying hard to lift his side, while Luke Lewis also did his best to inspire his teammates.
The Sharks now face an important match in relation to their finals aspirations when they host the St George Illawarra Dragons in the local derby match next Sunday at Remondis Stadium.
Andrew Fifita 2, Sosaia Feki tries, Michael Gordon 2 goals
Jorge Taufua 3, Steve, Matai, Daly Cherry-Evans tries, Jamie Lyon 4 goals